Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2019-34

Common name:

Reddish Egret

Scientific name: Egretta rufescens
Date: 8 Oct 2019
Time: 12:30PM
Length of time observed: approx 45 minutes
Number: 1
Age: Immature
Sex: unknown
Location: Ken's Lake
County: San Juan
Latilong: 38.48054, -109.42737
Elevation: 5040 ft
Distance to bird: 40-50 yards
Optical equipment: Canon 10x image stabilzed binoculars, swarovski 30-70x scope
Weather: 68f clear light breeze
Light Conditions: clear skies, sun overhead
Description:        Size of bird: Smaller than Great Blue Heron. Was not close to other birds for direct comparison.
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Heron/egret - long legs, neck, and bill.
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Fairly uniform, bluish grey with reddish in face.
(Description:)            Bill Type: Long and tapering to point.
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Obvious heron or egret by body shape. This individual has the field marks of an immature dark morph bird - lacking the distinct pinkish red head/neck and bicolored bill of an adult. Color was overall fairly uniform bluish gray, with a bit more more reddish color showing (mostly on the face). Bill was rather uniformly dark gray, with a darker region near the tip. Legs and feet uniformly dark gray. Iris appeared to be very light gray or blue. Active feeding behavior seen is characteristic of this species.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: did not vocalize
Behavior: When first observed, the bird was foraging along the lake shore, in quite an active manner - hopping and dancing about, often with wings raised. It then flew and perched. For the remainder of the observation time the bird remained stationary.
Habitat: Lake shore with little or no foliage
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
 Little Blue Heron would be the only other uniformly bluish colored heron or egret to be expected in this region. This species eliminated due to the following factors. 1) Feeding pattern. The bird seen exhibited the active feeding pattern characteristic of Reddish Egret. 2) Size. Although the subject bird was not observed adjacent to other species, it had the appearance of being larger than expected for Little Blue Heron. 3) Leg color - Little Blue Heron would be expected to have yellowish leg color. 4) Body color. Young Little Blue Herons are white, and transition to an indigo blue color. The bird seen was more uniformly greyish blue with no white. 5) Bill color - Little Blue Heron would have light region at base of bill.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Have seen a number of Reddish Egrets in California, Louisiana, and Florida. Have seen Little Blue Heron in California, Louisiana, and Florida.
References consulted: National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, 6th edition. Sibley Field Guide to the Birds Of Western North America Second Edition. Cornell University "Birds of North America"
Description from: From memory
From photo(s) taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Glenn Kincaid
Observer's address: HC64 Box 2404 Castle Valley Ut 84532
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Steve Heinrich, Chris Bremer
Date prepared: 9 Oct 2019
Additional material: Photos
Additional comments: eBird checklist: Additional photos available.